A member of the Yankees for just over a year, New York Yankees outfielder Ichiro Suzuki had a moment to remember in the team’s 4-2 win on Wednesday night. Knocking hit number 4,000 of a career that has seen him play in both Japan and the United States, Ichiro now finds himself among baseball’s all-time elites.
Stepping into the batter’s box in the first inning of the Yankee’s game against the Blue Jays in New York on Wednesday, Ichiro went through the same routine he has throughout his career. Pointing the bat straight ahead towards the pitcher’s mound and taking several practice swings before digging his feet in. Ichiro then connected with his unique swing and lined a ball past the third baseman and into left field.
After reaching first base, Ichiro took a bow for the Yankee Stadium crowd who acknowledged his accomplishment. His teammates then swarmed to celebrate with their teammate. Initially trying to prevent the stoppage in play, an embarrassed Ichiro came around to appreciate the moment.
“Having the 4,000th hit was important, but what is going to make it the most special moment was the fact that the players, my teammates, came out,” the outfielder said. “When I look back on this, that’s what’s going to make this very special.”
For his career, Ichiro has 4,000 career hits. Beginning in Japan’s Pacific League he tallied 1,278 hits. Since moving to the Major Leagues, he has added the other 2,722 hits. In total he is now just the third member of the 4,000 hit club, joining the ranks of Pete Rose (4,256 hits) and Ty Cobb (4,191 hits.)
Remaining modest about his accomplishments, Ichiro denied he is in the same league as Cobb and Rose. “[Mine] is a record that is from two leagues. Those guys did it in one league. I don’t think you have to put me in that same category as them.”
An incredible accomplishment for a career, however it alone did not lead the Yankees to victory on Wednesday night. He needed the help of Alfonso Soriano for that. His two run homer in the 8th inning sealed the deal and inched the Yankees one step closer to their postseason dream.
Currently New York is 4.5 games behind the American League East leading Boston Red Sox, and six games back from Wild Card leaders Tampa Bay and Oakland. ESPN currently gives the Bronx Bombers a 13 percent chance at playing in the post season.
Ichiro hit his milestone, he now looks to lead the Yankees to the playoffs with his continued excellence. Soriano has looked good since rejoining his former team in New York. Alex Rodriguez also can’t be discounted as he plays through the appeal process of his PED related suspension. The Yankees are starting to rise up the ranks, and might just have enough time to take over a playoff spot by season’s end.
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Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express